Knitting – A Lost Art

posted in: Fine Art | 33

One of my (many) hobbies is knitting. I enjoy the repetition, the act of creating something delicate and utilitarian from practically nothing, and the fact that a work in progress can be easily toted along to keep my hands busy while in waiting rooms or the like. Plus, there are no batteries involved, nothing needs recharging, and there is no need to search for a wifi signal.

It’s interesting to recall the comments I’ve heard in regards to this hobby. I’ve been complimented by older women for my ability to create something so delicate as it’s “not common” anymore… and I’ve heard moms explain to their toddlers: “she’s knitting, like Nana does.” It’s also interesting to note how while my fingers are engaged in knitting, I’m free to observe and listen whatever unfolds around me.

While “engrossed” in my knitting, I notice a lot of people hypnotized by smartphone screens. There are always moms messaging and skimming Facebook or Pinterest posts while their kid is swimming in the class next to my child. And I wonder — what happened to being content with where you are, when you are? Sometimes I do set down my knitting, pause what I’m doing, to make sure I’m not accidentally taking myself away from where I’m at — but in general, even though I look busy, my mind is actually engaged with what’s going on around me.

Here’s my latest project – a lace wrap I test-knit for the Wearable Art Emporium (Linda has some lovely patterns — if you are into knitting, I suggest you check her stuff out). Skim a little further down this post for more images of the wrap, my poem, “A Lost Art,” and my Pinterest board for all things related to crochet + knitting.

knit lace wrap - leaves garden

A Lost Art

My needles click calmly as I knit
click, click, click, click…
a calming metallic repetition
that reminds my son of
a train engine on the tracks.

On resting rows, my needles fly
faster than fast — purling incessantly.
Then I return to the right side,
begin again the intricate pattern.
The clicking needles slow
to a pace that is calmer and more deliberate.

Don’t drop a stitch, don’t skip a row.
Aside from following my pattern,
my mind is free to wander —
to be otherwise engaged
while my fingers keep busy
passing yarn over needles, again and again.

The repetition is calming, even peaceful.
My stress melts away in the calming
process of creating something
from a simple skein of yarn.

My project takes shape slowly,
even I am unsure how it will turn out
until it is finished.

In this age of technology, my mind delights
in something so simple, so tactile and physical.
I am joined to generations past through
my knitting as I keep a forgotten skill alive.
This lost art is intriguing, ever challenging.
Each new project both challenges and calms me.

My low-tech creative outlet may seem
antiquated, obsolete, unnecessary,
but it brings me relaxation, inspiration —
provides an escape from this high-stress,
fast-paced world in which we live.

knit lace wrap - leaves garden

Knitting and Crochet Resources

Here are a few resources for you if you’re interested in learning to knit or crochet. Or if you just want to be inspired for your next project. Links below will open in a new window for your convenience.

Follow Betsy @’s board Crochet + Knitting on Pinterest.

What About You?

Do you have any favorite patterns or projects to share? Do you prefer to knit or crochet? Or, have you always wanted to learn? I’ve shared photos of a really complicated pattern here, but many projects are quite easy and good for beginners — such as scarves, dishcloths, and even granny squares. What are your favorite projects for beginners?

33 Responses

  1. Winnie

    First of all – I LOVE knitting!!
    My Mom used to knit a looooooooot

    I like yours, it’s very elegant
    I’m not surprise though πŸ™‚ Knitting is like art and you are an artist πŸ™‚

  2. Mary

    A lost art …. what a great post! I love knitting – sometimes also I do also some crochet and sewing – but knitting is always my favorite. It has so many effects … it calms me down, when IΒ΄m stressed, it keeps me busy, when IΒ΄m tired … and I get new clothes by the way πŸ™‚ But I have to admit the finishing of a new sweater or cardigan is not so important for me … I like the process, knitting just to knit!
    Your lace wrap is beautiful!!!

  3. Mae @ Mommy Loves Trees

    Beautiful. My daughter’s favorite blanket is a knitted blanket. I love them because it was harder for her to kick off when she was a newborn. I will have to give it a try some day.

  4. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Winnie! What kinds of thins did your mom knit?

  5. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Mary. Yeah, knitting in itself is so enjoyable….I think you have to be a knitter at heart to truly understand that though :). I have some non-knitting friends who think it just looks tedious ;).

  6. Betsy Finn

    That is so true, Mae! Now that you mention it…our favorite baby blankets were knitted as well.

  7. Supriti Chauhan

    I too love to knit and crochet! I haven’t put up anything on my blog yet as I am contemplating to take a plunge into a self hosted site…have been too scared to lose too many things should anything go wrong! I have set myself a date (mid May when my blog turns a year old!) and God willing should I make the switch-over fine, then I shall definitely have my collection of posts on knitting & crocheting up and about! Phew… too long a comment for a first timer on your blog! Anyhow just wanted to tell you… nice having met you Betsy!

  8. Emma @ P is for Preschooler

    I think you’re right about the lost art thing. Most people don’t have the patience for something you have to work at when instant gratification is so “in”. On the plus side, the things you make will be all the more precious to people now because they aren’t as common!

  9. Kimberlee

    This is a great post. Your lace wrap is so pretty. I just finished a knit shawl for a KAL that I did with a facebook group and really like how it turned out – I did a post about it last week on my blog. I agree that knitting is calming and relaxing and I always take it with me wherever I go – never know when you can knit a row or two – especially waiting in my car for kids to get out of school.

  10. Betsy Finn

    Not too long of a comment at all, Supriti! Technology is intimidating sometimes, especially the loss of data, yikes! Would love to see some of your posts once you get them up and running though. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Betsy Finn

    True on both counts, Emma. The whole instant gratification thing *is* really a problem. I know a few teens who “tried” knitting for a day then gave up. Sigh….

  12. Betsy Finn

    Thank you, Kim! Oh, and that is a great idea about knitting while waiting to pick up your kids. Love your KAL project …and while I was searching for that, I found your crochet yoga-pilates strap. That’s going on my “to make” list for sure πŸ™‚

  13. Laura Hegfield

    BEautiful hand work and a wonderful ode to the art of knitting.

  14. The Tablescaper

    Just beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing your post with Seasonal Sundays.

    – Alma, The Tablescaper

  15. Betsy Finn

    Thank you so much Laura!

  16. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Alma. I love all your tea sets, they are always lovely to see πŸ™‚

  17. Tamar

    What a great piece! I love the color. I do cross stitch and love the time and focus it takes and the break from the screen world it allows me.

    Thanks for linking up!

  18. Pat

    Beautiful post. Made me recall memories of my grandmother patiently teaching me how to knit.

  19. rebecca

    What a beautiful piece, I think knitting is making a comeback. I’ve seen a good number of younger folks taking it up. Rebecca

  20. Lee Ann L.

    Love the closeup shots!

    By the way, I think knitting is making a comeback. Lots of quilters are knitters or have jumped on the knitting bandwagon. πŸ™‚

  21. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Tamar! Oh, yes, I love cross stitch too. πŸ™‚

  22. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Pat. Aren’t memories like that lovely? I have some similar that I likewise treasure. πŸ™‚

  23. Betsy Finn

    Thank you, Rebecca! And that’s great to hear your observation about knitting making a comeback. I’d much rather see people crafting than texting πŸ˜‰

  24. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Lee Ann! Oh, quilting to knitting. That’s a fun transition! I usually hear about the crochet to knitting transition. I’ve helped with a quilt or two myself… there’s another traditional pastime that really produces lovely results πŸ™‚

  25. Beverly

    Great post. I use to knit but now I mostly crochet. I enjoy creating things while waiting at the doctors office or on a plane. My cell phone has a place, but I love getting away from it. My son actually took a knitting class and made his daughter several hats. Then he made socks. I was so proud of him. I think knitting is growing. He lives in Vermont and there are knitting store everywhere.
    Keep up the lovely work,

  26. Kim Cunningham

    Wonderful! I started learning this winter.

  27. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Kim! Any favorite projects so far? I keep tackling projects with new stitches and its fun to be always learning πŸ™‚

  28. I love your lace wrap! I learned how to do a little knitting when I was younger, but I havent done any in a long time. =)
    I’m a new follower of your Pinterest Knitting/Crochet board from Small Victories Sunday!

    Have a great week!

  29. Hannah

    I’ve been knitting and crocheting since I was a teenager. My oldest granddaughter has learned to knit recently at 11 and is doing one project after another. I admire your pattern, those lacy patterns take so much concentration. I also like the peaceful feeling from working with my hands, I like to do it when in a stressful situation for the calming effect. I like to make hats, I use a random pattern of stitches with multiple colors. I use up yarn scraps by crocheting slipper sox rather like the ones in one of your photographs. I like your poem.

  30. Betsy Finn

    Thanks for visiting, Melissa! I’m relatively new to the lace knitting scene — did some more basic projects when younger and only took “complicated” projects like this wrap up once my son was born and I needed something to do while he nursed πŸ™‚

  31. Betsy Finn

    That’s wonderful that your granddaughter has taken to knitting, Hannah! And what a fun way to use up yarn scraps. Sounds very spontaneous and fun πŸ™‚

  32. Alecia

    Great post! Thank you for linking up to the Small Victories Sunday Linky party last week. I have pinned this post to our board. Can’t wait to see what you link up this coming weekend.

  33. Betsy Finn

    Thanks for stopping by, Alecia!